Despite overall City budget reductions of more than $1.1 million this fiscal year, the City of Sonoma’s contract with Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority for fire and emergency medical services includes continuation of three firefighter/paramedic positions added last year using a federal grant.
The City pays only one-third of the cost for these positions during the grant’s 3-year term. FEMA’s highly competitive “SAFER” or “Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response” program provides grant funding directly to fire departments to help increase or maintain the number of trained front-line firefighters available in their communities. SVFRA has been able to add a total of 12 firefighter/paramedics for the district under this program, including the three at the City station (Fire Station 1).
Although the pandemic recession has significantly reduced City revenues, fire protection services were prioritized and the Fire Department’s budget reductions were limited to non-staff expenditures. Read the City fiscal year 2020-21 “Budget in Brief” to learn more.